21 Feb 2014



SOURCE: A free novel to celebrate NATIONAL LIBRARIES DAY. This version originally came free when Bring Up The Bodies, another of the author's books, was pre-ordered.

London, 1782: Charles O'Brien, bard and giant, arrives from Ireland to seek his fortune. A freak of nature, he has a poet's soul.

His opposite is a man of science, John Hunter. Celebrated surgeon and famed anatomist, he buys dead men from the gallows and babies' corpses by the inch - and he wants the giant's bones.

 .... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1}: 'Bring in the cows now. Time to shut up for the night.'

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 34}: He came to London across Finchley Common, with the gibbeted corpses of villains  groaning into the wind.

MY THOUGHTS: Historical fiction? Great, one of my favourite genres. Written by a well received author? Tick, this looks promising. Based on an actual person? Charles O'Brien the giant of the title actually existed as did the surgeon John Hunter. All positive signs. This was going to be a good read, right?

You'd have thought so, wouldn't you? Alas, I'm afraid The Giant, O'Brien just didn't do anything for me but then I'm beginning to think that Hilary Mantel's style of writing just isn't a style I enjoy.

Though undoubtedly written by a gifted wordsmith, to me this was a novel with little substance that, a contradiction in terms I know, left me bored and longing for the ending whilst at the same time, totally unsatisfied with what I had read, wanting more.

'Spliced with black comedy' claims the blurb on the back cover. To some perhaps, I personally found the whole novel relentlessly bleak if not altogether depressing. The only positive thing in its favour being it was different.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.


Kelly said...

I've not read this author, but it seems I thought some of the earlier books might be interesting.

We have similar taste in historical fiction, so I fear this might not be to my liking, either.

Lindsay said...

Not one that I would be rushing out to try. Thanks for your honesty as always Tracy.
Sorry I haven't been to comment as much just recently, life is keeping me away from the computer a bit.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh this would not bode well for me. I think I will skip it. Thanks for the honest review!

Brian Joseph said...

Too bad this was so disappointing. Based upon the plot description one would expect that this one would be filled with substance. I agree that its lack would be a major letdown.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

Whilst this isn't a book I would be rushing out to buy, I have spent a very profitable few minutes checking out the two main protagonists in the story, as they both sounded so intriguing, so all is not lost or wasted!

Thanks for the honest take on this book and better luck with the next one!


Suko said...

Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts about this book, Tracy. Sorry you found this one disappointing despite the promising sound of it.

DMS said...

I have never read anything by this author- but I am sorry you didn't enjoy this one more! It did sound very promising and what an interesting cover!

Thanks for sharing :)

Naida said...

Too bad it disappointed Tracy!

Literary Feline said...

Too bad. :-( I haven't read anything by this author, although I'm sure I have Wolf Hall sitting somewhere among my TBR books.

Betty Manousos said...

i'm probably skipping this one but just wanted to say that it did sound promising.

big hugs!

Claudine G. said...

When I read the first line, I thought it was promising. I haven't read any of this author's works but I've heard of her. (I sometimes enjoy bleak stuff. Who knows, maybe I'll try one of her novels some day in the far future?)